New Delhi: Thirty-nine soldiers of the Myanmar military, who had been taking refuge in Mizoram, were sent back to their country by Indian armed forces on Tuesday, November 14.
The decision to send them back came after the camp in which the soldiers had been staying came under attack from ethnic armed groups aligned with the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar.
Two choppers belonging to the Indian armed forces were deployed to evacuate them from their camp in Champhai, the headquarters of Mizoram’s Champhai district bordering Myanmar. They were flown to Moreh in Manipur, which shares a land border with Myanmar’s Sagaing region.
“The entire operation from evacuating the Myanmar soldiers to Moreh and sending them across towards Tamu (nearest Myanmar town from Moreh) was over by 3 pm,” an Army officer monitoring the exercise said, according to The Hindu.
The official also added that there were reports of two more Myanmarese soldiers crossing over into India in the last 24 hours. He said they would also be sent back once security personnel locates them.
The civil war in Myanmar, which has been on since February 2021, intensified in the last few days in the region close to the Mizoram border. The fighting between the country’s Army and pro-democracy groups, including ethnicity-based extremist groups, has gone up by several notches.
According to Indian security officials, a fierce gunfight broke out between the two sides at Khawmawi in Myanmar, which is located across Zokhawthar in Mizoram’s Champhai district on Sunday, November 12 evening. About 1,500 Myanmarese have been taking refuge in border areas of Mizoram following the gunfight, officials added.
Besides ethnic armed groups aligned with the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar, the Kuki Independent Army, Kuki National Army, and the Chinland Defence Force also attacked the Myanmarese military camp in Mizoram. A military camp in Rikhawdar near Khawmawi was also overrun by the other side.
Fearing for their lives, the 39 soldiers ran for cover to reach Mizoram on Monday evening. The decision to allow Myanmarese soldiers into India resulted in protests from Chin refugees of Myanmar, who staged a protest outside the Zokhawthar police station where the soldiers were kept. The soldiers were handed over to the Assam Rifles, according to a senior police officer.
Since the outbreak of civil war in Myanmar in February 2021, Mizoram has been hosting more than 35,000 Chin refugees. They are taking refuge in schools, community halls, temporary sheds, and the homes of relatives across Mizoram. The refugees are taking shelter in schools, community halls, temporary sheds, and the homes of relatives across Mizoram. The Chins and Mizos of Mizoram belong to the Zo ethnic group.